Music review: Panic! At the Disco, Hydro, Glasgow

Brendon Urie of  Panic! At The Disco
Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco
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Since 2015, frontman Brendon Urie has been the only official member of these slick millennial poppers. The other founding members have long since jumped ship. They’re not so much a band, more of a powerful global corporation with an ever-changing board of governors.

Panic! At the Disco, Hydro, Glasgow ***

With his shiny jacket and pompadour, Urie looks like Brandon Flowers spliced with Peter Andre. His main selling point is a fairly impressive vocal range; he can swoop from a palatable croon to a Gibb-straddling falsetto with ease. The crowd went wild every time he unleashed that startling gimmick. Urie smiled, sang and pranced a lot, but barely spoke to his devotees all night. They didn’t seem to mind.

His latest hirelings were accompanied by a string trio and a two-man horn section whose chewy parps recalled Huey Lewis & The News at their most indefatigably cheerful.

Panic! At the Disco’s oeuvre sounds custom-made for rom-com soundtracks and American Idol contestants. The likes of Dancing’s Not a Crime are big, shiny, primary coloured Duplo blocks smeared with readymade hooks. Quite difficult to resist in this context, even for a jaded old hack like me. Their best songs are the camp cabaret pastiche Death of a Bachelor and Crazy=Genius (“You’re just like Mike Love but you’ll never be Brian Wilson”), a raucous big band swinger retooled for arenas. It sounds not unlike Adam Ant’s Goody Two Shoes. That’s a compliment. It’s (mostly) harmless corporate pop with an ever so slightly eccentric bent. - PAUL WHITELAW